Forget your fantasies about Food Network fare. Westport's forthcoming Foodie Fest promises to make many of your culinary dreams reality. Food lovers will not only be able to indulge in some of the best meals Westport has to offer, but will get the chance to enjoy a variety of unique experiences ranging from behind-the-scenes cooking demos in favorite restaurants to a bona fide beer fest on Veterans Green.

The new three-day event, set for Oct. 26-28, is a joint project of the Downtown Merchants Association, the Westport Sunrise Rotary and the food blog, CTbites. Part of the proceeds from tickets will go to various local charities.

Activities will include a sushi-making class for young people, theatrical performances and a range of demonstrations.

About 30 participants met Thursday afternoon at Town Hall to promote the fest.

"The buzz is starting," declared Ellen Bowman, events curator with CTbites. "The whole key is that it's downtown-venue driven."

Over 15 different events will take place throughout the weekend, and while each requires its own ticket to participate, visitors will find it easy to take part in almost every one if they choose.

"It's for a good cause," said Pietro Scotti, owner and head chef at Da Pietro's, who will do a demonstration -- preparing an elaborate three-course meal, after which visitors will get to eat it. "We're trying to help the community."

"It's a collaboration with a lot of different restaurants and organizations," said Cathy Colgan, special events producer for the WDMA.

"The Downtown Merchants Association does a lot of different events that are designed to highlight our downtown area," she said. "This is all about highlighting the downtown dining scene."

While it's in its 23rd year, the Sunrise Rotary's wine tasting event is coincidentally being held at Christ and Holy Trinity Church downtown this year. "We thought it would be a good idea to combine," said Bob Galan, who chairs that event.

Meanwhile, the Westport Cinema Initiative is also getting involved, sponsoring a screening of the movie "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" in tandem with food offerings from Matsu Sushi restaurant.

"It's all part of a reciprocal venture,' said Sooo-Z Goldberg, production director for the WCI.

"In bringing a theater back to downtown Westport, we want to enrich the community with the element of film and be a part of the ongoing events that happen in downtown Westport," she said.

"We want to be a part of the energy and buzz, and help create the energy and buzz."

For details about the Foodie Fest programs, check here: http://www.westportfoodiefest.com